INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AND WORLD PRESS

ASSIGNMENT
ON

ELMO ROPER CONCENTRIC CIRCLE THEORY DESCRIBED
THE TRICKLING DOWN OF INFORMATION AND ITS EFFECT,
USING THE THEORY AS A PEG. CLEARLY JUSTIFY HOW
INFORMATION COULD BE MANAGED EFFECTIVELY IN
NIGERIA

BY

OKAFOR FAITH OKWUKWE
134072048

SUBMITTED TO:
MR. STEVE AANU ADESEMOYE




NAME: SHOBOWALE OMOWUNMI GLADYS
MATRIC: 134072066
DEPT: MASS COMMUNICATION HND I
COURSE: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AND WORLD PRESS (MAC 342)
ELMO ROPER CONCENTRIC CIRCLE THEORY DESCRIBED THE TRICKLING
DOWN OF INFORMATION AND ITS EFFECT, USING THE THEORY AS A PEG.
CLEARLY JUSTIFY HOW INFORMATION COULD BE MANAGED EFFECTIVELY IN
NIGERIA

Introduction
Elmo Roper concentric theory also assumes that ideas evolve gradually to the public at large and
suggest that people would accept ideas from leaders rather than mass media. Roper's concentric
circle theory of the flow of ideas may be seen as complementary to the Katz and Lararsfield (two-
step) model, notwithstanding that it is a much earlier statement. Roper suggested, based on 39 years
of public opinion research that ideas generally penetrate the public very slowly, and they do so by a
process similar to osmosis - moving out in concentric circles from the source, from opinion leader to
opinion leader. The rate of flow in the transmission and acceptance of ideas is governed by many
factors, which include Gallup's "Regulators of Absorption" (e.g. complexity of the idea, factors of
difference from accustomed patterns, competition with prevailing ideas, frequency of exposure,
congruency with previous ideas, fills a felt need deficiency) and Lippmann's "Barriers to
Communication" (degree of censorship, limitations of social contact, time element, message
distortion due to compression, etc.).
Elmo Roper states that ideas evolve gradually to the public at large moving in concentric circles
from great thinkers, to great disciples, to great disseminators, to lesser disseminators, to the active
audience and to the inert. This theory is based on the assumption that opinion leaders also have their
own opinion leaders and that the influential in the society also have their own influential that they
look up to for information and could also influence them through their options leaders.





The Importance of information to community development in Nigeria
The importance of information in community development cannot be overemphasized because
information has become a supportive input for any development program. It is so vital that is why
Nyerere (1967) stated that, “while other countries in the world aim to reach the moon, we must aim
for the time being at any rate to reach the villages by providing them with necessary information”.
Thus, it can be said that, information, if well-articulated could eradicate ignorance and gives
enlightenment on how to achieve economic, educational, social, political and cultural objectives
towards the development of the entire community. In addition to this, utilisation of information in a
coherent form can raise aspiration, through arousing people from fatalism, fear of change, desire for
a better life and the determination to work for it. This creates an intellectual climate, which
stimulates people to take another look at their own current practices and future perspectives. Ideally,
information brings about knowledge, and a knowledgeable community is also an informed
community. This signifies that no community can develop without knowledge, and a community can
only become knowledgeable if they recognize and use information as their tool for development.
It is generally agreed by a number of scholars such as Mchombu (2003), Okiy (2005), Camble
(1994) and others that, communities in Africa have invariably lagged behind in terms of any
meaningful development. This constitutes to a greater extent the underdevelopment of African
nations as a whole because communities form the nucleus of those nations. Lack of access to


adequate and right information at the right time to the communities undermines the efforts at
improving the living conditions of the people by both governments and non-governmental
organizations.
It has been observed that having access to the right information can address major problems that
hinder community development and it can also improve chances for livelihoods. Several researchers
such as Alex Pox (2003) has reported that an increase income because farmer‟s cooperatives which
are well informed are able to respond appropriately to changes in the market. This has made them to
compete with commercial farmers, through communal viewing of agricultural programs on
television and telephone conversation with distance friends and relatives. It also strengthened their
social networks, such people today continue developing themselves with information they acquired.
Access to information in communities of Africa is affected by a number of drawbacks, evident in
ways in which information services are coordinated. It is agreed that information providers and
experts need to pay attention to the information needs of the various groups and the communication
process among each group of the user community (Odini, 1995). Therefore, the role of libraries,
information centres and other agencies becomes vital in sustaining the information services for the
development of communities in Africa. In this case, Libraries and information centres should
develop their collections, facilities and services to meet the information needs of their patrons. In
addition, to accomplish this task effectively, Government and its agencies must have a careful and
thorough understanding of the information needs, information-seeking behaviour, information
services and information system of the communities. Furthermore, Governments and their agencies
must have effective implementation picture that will make the dwellers to maximise the utilization of
information for their daily activities. It is therefore, desirable to understand the purpose for which
information is required, the environment in which the user operates, users‟ skills in identifying the
needed information, channels and sources preferred for acquiring information, and barriers to
information seeking and use.
Effective information management
Creating demand for information that serves the needs of communities will initiate the process of
information seeking. Convincing communities on the importance of information will result in
accepting information as a key for development. This is foreseen as being „information-haves‟ rather
than „technology haves‟ is the ultimate goal. Thus, priority must be put on educating communities to
know the importance information that is relevant to their immediate activities.


However, raising the awareness on the importance and need for information will require us to
understand the community itself. Only by knowing them, then we can design and develop proper
information products and services. This would include activities relating to the packaging and
repackaging of local information. Harnessing information resources for development can only be
achieved when the communities value information, such that they are ready to seek and use
information in solving daily activities regardless of the distance, format or medium in which the
information is available. Empowering people to be among global players in the knowledge-based
economy can only be done by making them aware of the importance and role of information for
development. Therefore, the following should be followed as guiding principles by African leaders
to follow as a way to promote information as tool and agent for development in areas:
• Creating awareness (i.e. through village heads, community leaders)
• Public lectures (on market days, hospitals and other social gathering)
• Reawakening the role of oral tradition in most of the communities and integrating it with digital
technologies for enhancement.
• Organising shows and public gathering for education and entertainment
• Festivals and communal functions, meetings etc.,
• Establishing innovative community information centre
• Skills acquisition centre and deploying extension information workers to communities
• Announcement through public address system and political campaigns
• Educational institutions and non-governmental organisations.

Conclusion
Adequate knowledge of the information needs of users is imperative for Government and its
agencies in re-orienting the information services and activities to synchronise them with the
information seeking behaviour of the communities. Researchers such as (Mchombu, 2003, Aina,
2006, Correa 1997) and others all established that communities in African are often left out from
participating in government policies, development and other important activities. Why? Because
their diverse interest, literacy level, expertise, and their needed information for survival, and
development are hidden from the existing information flow. The kind of information delivered to the


communities is very much system oriented to which most of the dwellers cannot understand and
benefit from it, and the provision is dependent on the availability, extent of content, Government
interest, format and available modes of delivery. This is particularly obvious in developing countries
like Africa where infrastructures and development policies are minimally provided due to unplanned
development efforts by the Governments. Today information is conceived as an important resource
that contributes immensely towards the development of a nation especially in this era of information
explosion. It provides the mainstay for the development of knowledge, the foundation for
innovations, the resources for informed citizenry, and as a result, becomes a key commodity for the
progress of any society. Mchombu (2003) stated that, “the contradiction between the vital role of
information in development and its lack of official recognition in developing countries can hardly
escape the attention of Information specialists”. Therefore, this unhealthy situation warrants
immediate concern of the information workers, professionals, governments and specialists to
actively bring about lasting and favourable solutions, so that information can be fully accepted and
utilized as resources contributing to the development.



References
Aboyade, B.O. (1984), "Making the library relevant in a non-literate society: the future of library
and information services in Nigeria", Nigerian Libraries, Vol. 20 pp.89-97.
Aboyade, B.O. (1987), the Provision of Information for Rural Development, Fountain Publishers,
Ibadan,
Adimorah, E.N.O. (1986), "Strategies for effective information resource organization for Nigerian
rural communities", Nigerian Libraries, Vol. 22 No.1 and 2, pp.46-60.
Agha, S.S. & Akhtar, S. (1992) The responsibility and the response: Sustaining information system
in developing countries. Journal of Information science, 18, 283-292.
Agoulu, C.C. (1989) Libraries Knowledge and Development. Inaugural lecture Series no. 45
University of Maiduguri in 1988/89 Session.
Balit, S.; Calvelo Rios, M. and Masias, L. (1996). Communication for development for Latin
America: a regional experience. FAO, Rome Italy.
Cohen, J.M. (1987). Integrated rural development: the Ethiopian experience and the debate.
Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, Uppsala, Sweden.
Mchombu, K. (1993). Information provision for rural development: a final report on phase one of
the INFORD) research project. IDRC. 17 pp.
Munyua, H. (2000). Information and Communication Technologies for rural development and
food security: Lessons from field experiences in developing countries. SD Knowledge :
communication for development available at www.google.com. Accessed 22/11/2007